The recent shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas has again brought the gun control debate front and center. As local politicians have expressed their condolences, some have also taken the opportunity to call for more widespread gun legislation. New Hampshire’s US Senator Maggie Hassan said, “As we mourn for the victims we must also finally take action to prevent these senseless acts of gun violence.”
Kelley shouldn’t have even had a gun
According to Texas’ Governor, Greg Abbott, the shooter, Devin Kelley, should not have been able to purchase the Ruger ARR-556 used in the attack on the church since he had been discharged from the military for bad conduct and was court-martialed for charges of assault on his wife and child.
A resident who heard the gun shots came out of his house and exchanged gun fire with the Kelley, after which he hailed down the driver of a passing vehicle, and they, along with law enforcement, pursued the suspect whom eventually crashed his car. Kelley was found dead due to gunshot wounds which he had received from both a self-inflicted wound, and the gunfight with the armed citizen. A witness claims if it wasn’t for the resident who shot Kelley, the attack wouldn’t have stopped when it did.
Let law enforcement do their job
Some law enforcement officials argue that the presence of more armed citizens at a mass shooting scene only makes things worse by creating chaos and slowing down the investigation.
At a recent shooting at a Wal-Mart in Denver, police reported that their investigation was slowed down when they were forced to wade through footage to try and separate the "good guys" with firearms from the perpetrator.
Additionally, they maintain that citizens who aren’t properly trained have the potential to do more harm than good. Using a gun as self-defense should only be a last resort. An FBI study in 2013 showed that armed citizens have stopped only one out of six active shooters and and that was usually by means of tackling.
Good guys with guns
Supporters of gun rights argue that these statistics are misleading, as they do not take into account how many mass shootings happen in "gun free zones", where law-abiding citizens wouldn't be carrying arms.
They point to cases like that of an Uber driver in 2015 who shot and wounded a gunman who had opened fire on a crowd.
In response to law enforcement’s concerns, Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, said "… what are people supposed to do? Lay down on the floor and draw chalk marks around themselves?”
Do you think more citizens with guns is a help or a hindrance? Tell us what you think.